It's All Relative
Why do you? People research their ancestors for many reasons.
They want to join a patriotic or historical society like the Daughters of the American Revolution or the Mayflower Society. They need to check for any past major medical conditions so they can inform their medical health professionals. Some want to discover if they are related to a king, a president , or a celebrity. Others want to know country their ancestors came from. Whether you are looking for skeletons in the closet or the black sheep of the family, genealogy research is always very fascinating and rewarding. Why do YOU do genealogy?
The stories of each of our ancestors are unique, but they also have a lot in common. Our ancestors left the "old" country to come to the "new" facing many hardships and prejudices of every kind. The PBS program "Faces of America" presents the family histories of several American celebrities. Maybe your family shares a similar story with Meryl Streep, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Stephen Colbert, Kristi Yamaguchi and others.
In 2012 we will see 1940! On April 1, 2012, in accordance with a 72-year privacy law, the 1940 census will become available to the public. Genealogists will see their ancestors and life in 1940 America. The National Archives can give you more details about the census. Here is another website about the 1940 census that is user friendly. Countdown to 1940!
Brothers and Sisters!
If you are looking through vital records and cannot find information you thought should be there, do not despair! Not finding the place of birth or parent's names in the records of your direct ancestor, then find those same records for any brothers and sisters. If your great-grandmother's parents are not listed on her death certificate, find the death certificate for her brother or sister and it may be there. Different people know different bits of information at different times! This research method is often called cluster genealogy.
Good luck with your research!
If you're starting your Spring cleaning--be careful--maybe you will find some family treasures!
If you've just kept moving that box around with grandpa's "stuff" in it--open it! There may be documents, photos, even personal items that you've never seen before. You might find out something new about grandpa!
These discoveries may be just what it takes to get you started with your family history!
March is Irish-American Heritage month. Surprised? Over 7 million Irish immigrants have come to America since the 1600s, so you might be able to really celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
I recently attended the Du Page County Genealogical Society annual conference and came back with a lot of new ideas. Six speakers presented very interesting programs including research strategies and ethnic groups. There were also several vendors and societies offering books, maps, memberships and lots of genealogy information. I encourage you to attend a conference. Check with your local library or genealogy society for upcoming events. It's a great way to learn about genealogy and share ideas with fellow family history researchers.
Every year at this time we honor our nation's Presidents. Could you be related to one? Two sources that might help you find out if you are a distant cousin to Millard Fillmore are American Presidential Families and
Ancestors of American Presidents. Some of our Presidents were also related to other Presidents, other famous Americans, and even European kings. Which means--you might be too! Check it out!
When you are looking for your family name in the census or a court index and cannot find it, what do you do ? Try using the soundex system. This system is based on how the name sounds and not the way it is spelled. For example Miller, Muller, and Mueller. Use this soundex converter to see other similar names, Then look at that census or court index again. You just might find your name!
Who's Clio? Why, the Muse of History, of course!
It's actually a database of digitized books containing local, county, and state histories. Clio is available on the computers in the Shackley Room. You can browse by title or do a simple or advanced search. Type in an author, family name or location and get the full text! Thanks, Clio!